Miami basketball preview!

#74 R.P.I. Miami #132 R.P.I. Virginia Tech: 

Virginia Tech men’s basketball returns to conclude a rarefied 3-date homeschooling session vs. the Miami Hurricanes on a late kick of 9 PM Wednesday night over in the moderately weathering New River Valley.

The Hokies (finally) got up off the nearly mid-January schneid and broke the seal on winning vs. the yo-yo’ing or Smothers Brothers routine Pittsburgh Panthers on Saturday evening. Thinks to a very Horne effort— if you know what I mean. Nevertheless, I do mean that our (seemingly) better core players had better play better if we wanna finish 2020 the same. That all said, what you wanna know is… who is gonna win and by how much, right? So read on, to find… out!

Miami Head CoachJames Joseph Larrañaga: Age=7o, 6655-440 (.598) overall, and
185–106 (.636) at Miami.
$1,300,000.oo base (w/ $700k for retention)

(antediluvian) swagg.

6′3″ baller Larrañaga came up in the hard-hitting Bronx ‘hood of N.Y.C, as one of six children; Larrañaga attended Archbishop Molloy High School in Queens, where he starred under Coach Jack Curran, graduating in 1967. He went on to play basketball at Providence College. He was the basketball team captain as a senior in 1971, leading Providence College to a 2o–8 record and an N.I.T. birth. He graduated as the school’s 5th all-time leading scorer with 1,258 points and was the team’s top scorer as a sophomore and junior, being named New England’s Division I Sophomore of the Year in 1969. After Providence, baller Larrañaga was 5th round of the 1971 N.b.a. Draft by the Detroit Pistons. However, baller Larrañaga never sought an NBA career, tho’ he did ball overseas for Geronemo Basketball Club (Belgium), 1976; then he opted instead to go into coaching. Jim’s grandfather was born in Cuba of Basque parents and was part of the Por Larrañaga cigar company in that country.

Coach Larrañaga prior to his time at Miami, he served as head coach at Bowling Green (1986-1997) and more notably at George Mason University (1997-2011), where he coached the Patriots to 13 consecutive winning seasons and became a media sensation during the Patriots’ improbable run to the Final-4 in 2006. Coach Larrañaga has ten conference titles to his claim and he won four different National Coach of the Year awards in 2o13) to pair with one other in 2oo6, and five conference Coach of the Year awards -from three conferences (A.c.c., C.A.A., and M.A.C.) along the way. Coach Larrañaga is a man who reads books by the Dalai Lama, quotes Confucius, Aristotle and Ralph Waldo Emerson in the locker room, starts practices by giving players a “Thought of the Day” and uses quotes and themes from movies such as “Drumline” and “You Got Served” for his pregame speeches. He has a butterfly release program for his baller’s each pre-season and is a quiet and highly mercurial sort. He is known for being meticulous -he carries his very own: 1o8-page coaching guide compiled from years of taking notes- and industrious in his approach to hard-nosed defense and rebounding, with a slashing attacking O on-court. Coach Larrañaga took Sun Tzu’s Art of War apart and re-wrote it for basketball purposes, turning it into what he calls “The Art of War for hoops. WOW, and far out, alike!

Professor Larrañaga was appointed as an associate professor in the George Mason School of Management (2oo6); specifically, in the school’s Executive M.B.A. program. Although his basketball schedule only allows him to teach part-time, he is a frequent presenter in classes on leadership, management, and team development, and also often speaks at Management School sponsored seminars. He had been a guest lecturer in the field of Management since arriving at Mason in 1997.

There were i-net whispers that Larrañaga is “coach-3” in the college basketball corruption probe earlier last year (per: USA Today).

Daddy Larrañaga is married to Liz’ and they have two sons and four grandchildren. Their son Jay played for his father at Bowling Green, was the head coach of the NBDL’s Erie Bayhawks, and his now the top assistant coach with the Boston Celtics. Jon was a member of his father’s George Mason teams from 1999-2003, earning first-team academic all-American honors
for NCAA Division I-AA school

Miami at a glance:

  • 14th fewest personal-fouls “whistled” against. (virtually the same, )
  • 55th fewest Turnovers. (a little slippy or worse, here, )
  • 55th in FT percentage. (little better here, )
  • 250th fewest FTA’s. (noticeably better aggression wise, )
  • 286th in Scoring D allowed! (poor, tho’ less porous than before, )
  • 293rd in defensive FG percentage allowed! (suspect, tho’ improved suspect actually, )
  • 334th in most assists!! (slightly better tho’ about neutral, )
  • 33oth in all-important Rebounding Margin!!! (slightly better tho’ about even,)
  • now down from 7 to only 3 team national rankings that are ≥300th worst | now down from 17 to 10 outta 31 team national rankings that are no better than C—/D+++. (, more than a smidgeon overall)
  • (a couple of injuries and dings/dents live here— Coach God bless!)

Hurricane Returning Starters=3

Miami Strengths:

  • Melbourne Australia import third year 6′3″, 19o lb. Dejan Vasiljevic nets you a bettering 13.8 ppg and snags 4.2 caroms on 36.3% deep. He is said to be a pure spot-up shooting off-G who has range though is something of a defensive liability, and his offensive sets are said to lack diversity. “DeeJay” is of Serbian descent and he put up some smart-looking FIBA World Championships and lesser FIBA tourney numbers; plus, he is the G.P.A. team leader; great on that. (UPDATE: Dejan shed nearly 20 lbs. of weight since we saw him two springs ago and seems to be nimbler and mobile for it. Not quite fast-twitch sparky guy, although testing agility better for it if you will | Vas’ was also omitted from my pre-season magazines last year; so I’d presume they did not expect him 2019, back). Additionally, Miami shooting-G DJ Vasiljevic had hit at least one 3-pointer in 33 straight games, the longest former streak among A.c.c. players and tied for the third-longest in Hurricane history (which broke the game after we played Miami last).  (2nd UPDATE: scuttlebutt says: “bad back” here, may St.Wolfgang help! status=UNDISCLOSED) (3rd UPDATE: Dejan seemed to move well enough @Charlotte and dropped a team-leading 21 to help ‘cane Wake; while flashing way more all-around game of late; and he looks tonier/fitter this weight-room year to me as well) And oh by the way… 97.4%? Well, that nearly leads the World in FT-shooting! Never mind leading just the ‘canes or the A.c.c. or college ball itself. 15′, set-shot… wowowow!!! (now all the way down to a still sharp 88% on FTA’s)!
    (UPDATE: mostly down across the board less board-work itself, , in particular, this down-under p.Hogan kid is trending southernly on shooting).
  • 5′7″, 165 lb., mini-me, mighty-mite, (found 12 squat lbs. of musculature) supercalifragilistic as he can vertically be, one #2, Chris Lykes, is the alpha swagg on offense for da U with a team-leading 15.2 ppg on 42.6% from the floor, with an upward bound 39% deep and now a sharp-looking 81.6% FTA’s. Lykes is also first in dimes dropped (2.5 apg) and the blue ribbon in swipes (1.o spg) and his short-stuff 1.8 rpg ain’t hurting a team that needs a lotta helping (1ι) one-iota either. Although Chris’ handles -or lack thereof- at a “slippy” or butterfingers looking 2.2 tpg shows you just how much Lykes is trying to do for Miami this year. i.e. too much even for a pretty slick street-baller to go Atlas try to carry upon his B+ caliber although type A-game inner-city back. That being said, on an inch-for-inch or lb. for lb. basis… who is doing Atlantic Coast dynamo more? Be that on-court or off-court in All-A.c.c. Academic Team and A.c.c. Academic Honor Roll terms. This from the ESPN no.45 baller in America who is yet another District escapee who did not wanna run ball for VeeTee. As Lykes was only the 2016 Washington, D.C. Gatorade Player of the Year. As the book here reads: Lykes is a skilled ball handler with a dynamic combination of quickness and shooting ability who can finish in traffic with contact or hit long-range threes. Chris nearly netted 50% of his threes in scholastic terms even if he does appear to palm the ball a bit on tape. In particular upon his inbounds reception initial bounce. (UPDATE: poor Chris, who is suffering from the dreaded shebang injury of all real live Y-chromosomes everywhere… the ubiquitous “groin injury” is the male-call grimacing word here. May St.Margert bless!)
    (UPDATE: pretty consistent guy, or just slightly up, in the most lowercase , way).

    Leaking out 1o1…
  • True-C, Rodney Miller Jr., 6′12″, 238 lb., a space-eater by way of basketball factory Oak Hill Academy who decided to finally wear his r-Shirt last season. Also, haberdashering (this is a slick-dressing kid) would be a lotta size, a few 7.6 ppg, 5.9 rpg, and greater expectations to finally step-forward per his 6o% shooting in the paint (pardon the frontcourt, pun). As Rod’ cut nearly 20 lbs. during off-season workouts this summer and looks the better/fitter man for it. More active on D what with .8 bpg to boot. That said, being on the Athletic Director’s Honor Roll (3.2+ G.P.A.) is a non-issue in this case so hopefully, r-Jr. year Mister Miller figures things out this year or next. As he was first seen dunking at a downright nutty age 12 and he was only the 90th ranked scholastic hardwood baller from Scout. So more has been expected from this likable student-athlete athletically speaking to be sure.
    (UPDATE: not big ups, tho’ this Miller Lyte is up, , everywhere I checked and you don’t see that, that often this far later on in a given year).

Miami Weaknesses:

  • Oklahoma transfer, Kameron McGusty is a pretty useful looking 6′5″, 195 lb., r-Jr. off-G by way of Katy, Tx. He of 14.5 ppg, 2.1 apg, 1.1. spg and 4.5 rpg are listed as: UNKOWN or day-to-day due to “back spasms” and this would be a pretty big addition to our chances although a sizeable subtraction to da U’s odds.  McGusty has some scoring gusto indeed… 33% long-range and formerly being ranked as the no. 46 prospect, including the No. 10 shooting guard, by ESPN says so. As does Kameron’s sporting-family tree which blossoms roundballs this time of year. McGusty is whispered to have snubbed V.Tech who (seemed) to have a fair-to-middling shot at him at the last minute. As this kid was a 40% boomer-bomber from deep for OK-U. So he can make it rain from 3-point-land once he gets it going— and he’s had it going pretty good of late. (although when studying his game-log, I was left wondering if this is the rarefied Michael Cooper kinda kid who is more comfortable in relief as a highly-coveted 6th-man type role?)
    (UPDATE: special-K has been back for four games, the first two were highly oxidize or ferrous or rusty if you will. Tho’ 13.0 ppg, 4.1 rpg, and 1.8 apg on 35% from 3-ball-country do not suck and Kameron is 50% behind the arc in the last two weeks— i.e. this kid’s return is coach Mulder’s very own X-factor all by his ownself, ).
  • r-Soph., 6′10″, 211 lb. P/F and Foster’s Beer by way of Cairo, Egypt hommie, Deng Gak and his surgically repaired left-knee (St.Nikhon help); are done for the year. Also done for the year are his just south of 3 points, 4 boards, on 64% with and a swat as a back-up Four or frontcourt sub’. This from a protein shake guzzling kid who got to Miami at 195 lbs. as the no.91 ranked recruit in America per Gone also is his absurd 7′5″ wingspan, his gazelle floor running game, and his defensive acumen. As this is a name to remember, as this rare P/F mid-range oriented Gak kid (appears) to have a pretty high ceiling with some headroom to grow through indeed. (UPDATE: done for the duration due to a torn right meniscus in his knee. St.Nikhon help!)
  • Keith Stone is a (now) 3.9 ppg and 3.4 substitute frontcourt (6′8″, 244 lb., Four) who is due back somewhere midrange February St.Nikhon and Coach God willing.
    (UPDATE: Stone to has been back for a few weeks, although he’s quarrying away on O having NOT busted 40% shooting since! ⇓, as this kids offensive game needs mo’ time/reps). And Stone was the 82nd guy nationally (ESPN) and a **** or four-star signee anywhere you looked. Lindy’s says Keith to be an “always smooth” grad’-transfer Florida U baller who can score inside and hit the boards. And although muscular (now up to a bulky 256 lbs.) Stone is just over a year removed from a vegan knee (A.c.l.) mushroom cloud blowout. St.Nikhon super help!!! As you gotta feel for this kid, he ain’t hard-work shy, he’s just been hard-luck stuck)
  • Hate to say this… as I am actually a Jim-Dandy fan… tho’ I am wondering if Jim is aging out? Coach God, Fr.Time and sex… all undefeated.
  • And there have been a lotta little whispers and vibes down at Miami Vice of late… if you know what Eye mean…
  • Miami only had six, that’s (6) guys available last time out vs. U.n.c. —you do the maths!

Hurricane Bench: (depth=2+, sometimes 4)

The pride of Auckland, New Zealand… and an extremely rarefied ginger-topped Sam Waardenburg and his slightly improved 6.5 ppg and his noticeably more than doubled 6.3 rpg on an incrementally worsening (actually) 26.2% from 3-point-land and basically the same 44.7% from the floor chips more than a little paint. As this 6′10″, 215 lb. r-Jr. season big from below and to the right of down under is supposed to be a solid-shooter over in Pacific League(s) terms who can act (somewhat) as a proxy Point-F from the high-elbow or low-post. Sam does lead Miami in swat-team work (1.o bpg) and yet this unusual roundball gray-shirt enrollee does sport one more SAS Secondary Schools National Championship ring in hoops than you and I combined. And Waardenburg has plenty of Asiatic and Oceanic touring medals (tho’ no Gold’s) with a buncha international experience in tow. And he is the very first Geography Major I’ve ever seen in my decades plural of doing this. As in… even if Sam never dominates, you could do worse when mapping out a complementary type substitute frontcourt reliever.
(UPDATE: although poor Sam is still trading underwater compared to last year, he’s is not as submerged now as when we saw him last. As Sam’s shooting is on the come, )

Harlond Beverly is a 6′4″, 186 lb. nugget or rookie year voter from the Motor City. He was only the 42nd recruiting in America and 9th best S/G according to rivals last year. During which he was a Michigan Class D state champion while his team merely finished 4th in the whole dang USofA. That’s “Wolverines!” all… in the meantime whoever… Beverly is hilling his way to 7.8 ppg, 2.3 rpg, and 2.6 apg. Although his 25.8% from behind the arc is less than tempting, the book here says that Beverly is more of a Combo-G who can lead a team and penetrate to the basket. He is known for his versatility and his freaky athletics as well.  Full name is Harlond Terrill Beverly… and he likes to go by “H”. So “H” it is as “H” is from one of the rarefied really good-looking full family homes. Really wish I could type that out mo’ often too— I really do. Tho’ this is not your typical recruit… something of a 2020 G.Hill playing lead-G. “Thanks” @Coach God on that.
(UPDATE: Harlond is more productive yet shooting the same and that’s what pure Lava Soap or raw sweat is all about, ; good on him!)

There is talent off this Miami Bench… However, this ‘Cane pine-squad ain’t often confused with the word… deft… as in touch… as in makes. As takers, they gots… makers? Not so much.  Tho’ do check back on Beverly come 2023. He’s possibly a pure athlete who just needs to round his all-’round game out. (ditto: Gak if/when his body allows).

Beating Miami as a 5-point favorite @Home is all about, what(s)???

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Illationconclusion(s) and OPT digits:

Number of 'Canes who could blow @Tech=4.

the takeaway:
The takeaway here is… methinks we are gonna have to play better this time vs. Miami than we did last time vs. Pittsburgh if we wanna go a serviceable looking 2-1 during this homesteading run.

As this Hurricane hoops squad is noticeably healthier than the one that clipped us down on So.Beach a few weeks ago. And they just punked Boston College and Wake by 32 combined points with all hands on deck.

That, and we need our big guns (Nolley+Radford+Alleyne) to tickle the twine for mo’ than 9 for 26 shooting if we wanna beat much of anyone from here on out. As both Miami and V.Tech’s post-season odds really do need to go and favor taking what each opposing side surely views as a ‘winnable’ game here.


Our handy-dandy friend the so-called Forum Guide of Graham Houston fame is calling for a still pretty dang well obscene looking 42-point VicTory dance come just shy of the Cassell clock striking midnight on Wednesday. When taken gaming per capita… this however only amounts to a 5.25 point Tech Triumph. Notwithstanding, it only equates to a 7 point VomiT when only using updated games since I opined the first Miami preview and then it only posits, avers, and connotes a whopping 21 point cat’ IV sized Hurricane since da U got back to full hooping strenth! (do you see a trend here sports-fans?)

The annualized year-to-date vitals say that… V.Tech is actually up +3% in shooting percentage margin (all on D, which surprised me mo’ than a bit); with V.Tech up +4% in 3-point percentage margin (equally O & D split); and yet with V.Tech up a medium good-looking |5 boards| in rebounding margin. (as both teams are negative in Windex wipes for the season here. Although when taken in |absolute value| terms; it is just that V.Tech sucks a decent amount less on the glass).

The most recent 5-game metrics say that… the ‘Canes are now up +3% in shooting percentage margin (with a little mo’ movement on O); the ‘Canes are now up +3% in 3-point percentage margin (all courtesy of their stiffer halt-unit or D), and yet the F’n Gobblers are up an unremarkable 1 in rebounding margin as both teams are negative here when taken in |absolute value| terms. Although the ‘Canes have narrowed the carrom gap quite a bit in the last fortnight of hardwood.

Miami is up 5% at the charity stripe for the year.
The Hokies are a nearly umpossible is +12 in R&R for the last 3-weeks.
Virginia Tech is .733 as a hostess with the mostess; whereas da U is .333 as a guest.

  1. The Hokies just tallied tweleveteen 3-point makes; our most since hitting 14 treys in the Hokies’ prior victory, a double-overtime win over North Carolina.
  2. Miami’s rotation is now a fully-stocked 9-deep (as opposed to six or seven) and fully defensively restive for the first time in close to two months.
  3. Hurricanes G Isaiah Wong was named A.c.c. Freshman of the Week after averaging 17.0 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 3.0 assists in wins over BeeCee and Wake.
  4. Miami leads the all-time series 23-17, yet Virginia Tech has won three of the previous four meetings.

The Call

No. 1o2 Net Ranking Miami @ no.76 Net Ranking Virginia Tech:

So, as best Eye can see… and I was feeling better about picking VeeTee… well, at least I was right up until I finally studied the Pittsburgh box score.

And I was also feeling better about picking VeeTee… well, at least I was right up until I finally updated the Miami metrics and studied their improvement(s) and less insalubrious line-up since the last time we saw them and since the did us out by 10-points in their glamorous So.Beach cottage/studio/house.


Because… it does not take a rocket surgeon to see who has improved more since we faced Miami last.

Or in other words… I really got an Eye-opener when I went back and looked at and studied the 28th January 2020 A.D. splits.

9 PM kick-off!

A.c.c.ordingly… VeeTee’s seasonal shooting margin has diminished by nearly 200%, and our 3-point margin for the year has shrunk by 100%. That’s hard to do on such short-notice folks. Like Mohs Hardness Scale it takes a diamond to scratch… well; another diamond; hard to do.

And yet even more brazenly… our recent 5-game trends have moved against us by the same 200% overall from the floor, and yet by a never seen before 630% from deep! I say again, a 6.3:1 advantage for da U when taken as a pure 22 feet, 1¾ inches statistical index.

Which really does give new meaning to: “…he who lives by the tri-point sword shall (robert) Parrish by the same.”

As yah; I really was gonna pick us here…
that’s: was… past; tense.

(54% confidence interval)

Virginia Tech=71, Miami=75




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